The Philadelphia Phillies are one of the most interesting teams to watch out for at the MLB trade deadline.
Philadelphia has tons of power hitters and stars but also a crisis in the bullpen and lackluster pitching. At 31-31, they are starting to play some of their best baseball. Bryce Harper is putting up a very strong campaign as he looks to repeat as NL MVP while Kyle Schwarber, Rhys Hoskins and Zack Wheeler continue to shine. The team as a whole can improve with the right tweaks.
Ahead of the August 2nd trade deadline, they should look to upgrade their roster. If the front office actually adds some respectable bullpen arms and another solid starter, the Phillies can overcome their weak defense. Their offense is already strong, even with JT Realmuto having a down year and Nick Castellanos no longer hitting like an All-Star. The talent is there for a run to the postseason.
Make no mistake, the Phillies definitely have to make moves ahead of the trade deadline. But those moves should be focused on improving the team now, not in the future.
3 reasons why the Phillies should be buyers at MLB trade deadline
3. They're finally starting to look good
Commencing a firesale immediately after proving that the team can be good would be comical. The Phillies seem to have a new life with interim manager Rob Thomson. This is a sign to lean harder into the core they have, not ditch it.
As it stands right now, the Phillies are 4.5 games back from a Wild Card spot. They will face stiff competition but have the ability to compete for one of the three Wild Card spots. Their offense is among the very best and their starting pitching has been respectable.
Philadelphia has what it takes to compete for a playoff berth. Their performance under their new manager suggests that they are just starting to unlock their potential as a respectable team.
2. This isn't a make-or-break year
If a team was underachieving on their last chance to prove they still had it, then it makes sense to trade off key pieces. That's what happened with the Chicago Cubs last year. Their key players were set to hit free agency and they shipped them off so that they could add more future reinforcements. Philadelphia is not in this situation at the moment.
The Phillies should certainly fight for a World Series this year but this is core will have a few more years, at least, to try to contend. They have control over their key players for the next handful of seasons. Although they don't have the time to be extra patient, they didn't push in all their chips to win just this season. They have no reason to tear it down now, especially not with the player that's leading them.
1. They have Bryce Harper
When you have a player of Harper's caliber and don't go all-out to win, it's a disservice to sports. The Phillies followed that belief this offseason and shouldn't pull the plug now.
Since May 1, Bryce Harper is slashing .347/.397/.754 with a 1.151 OPS. During this span, he has a 162-game pace of 67 doubles, 67 homers, 173 RBIs and 140 runs scored.
— Jonny Heller (@JonnyHeller) June 10, 2022
Harper is just 29 years old and still one of the very best hitters in all of baseball. As one of the six qualified hitters with an OPS of over 1.000, his value to the Phillies is immense even if he never plays the field again. He will continue to be one of the best hitters in the sport.
Trading Harper would give the Phillies a huge haul in return but it would also signal that they aren't serious about winning. The odds of them finding someone this good again are slim.
What was the point of having an MVP if you aren't going to put winning pieces around him? Although the front-office regime changed after he decided to join Philadelphia, the current front office has to reward his faith in the franchise. The Phillies have spent too much money on this team to blow it up now. See it through at least a season before considering what direction is best to go in.